A celebration of a very English fruit: Victoria plums, damsons and golden plums, each acting as a foil to the others in a subtly-choreographed dance of colour, offset by the background tones of onyx and pale warm marble. The clear plastic box, suggested by almost solely by the bravura highlights, is one of Rose’s cleverest modernizings of the ephemeral containers of earlier still life paintings – the earthenware pots in a Velasquez, the wooden cheese boxes in a Melendez, the rush baskets in a Chardin. This is a virtuoso updating of an ancient genre.
Stephen Rose was born in Rochford, Essex, in 1960. His career as an artist began when, aged 8, he saw a print of Caravaggio’s Conversion of St Paul. He was trained at the Medway College of Art (1979-80), Cheltenham College of Art (1980-83; BA Hons in Fine Art), the British School in Rome (1982), and the Royal Academy of Art (1983-86; Diploma in Fine Art). In 1992 he was elected Brother of the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London.
He has won various awards, including the British Institute Award, 1983; the Royal Academy Painting Prize, 1984; the Landseer Scholarship, 1985; the Richard Ford Travelling Scholarship, 1986 (when he studied at the Prado, Madrid); and the Royal Overseas League International Painting Competition Travelling Prize, 1987 (when he visited in northern India). He has exhibited at the ICA, the Mall Galleries, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the National Portrait Gallery (BP Portrait Competition); in 2001 he had his first one-man exhibition at Target, in Munich, Germany.
Publications: How to paint in oils, Winsor & Newton, 2008